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Auction History Result

8s049 FREDDIE BARTHOLOMEW personality poster 1930s great smiling portrait of the child star!

Date Sold 8/19/2018
Sold For: Login or Register to see sold price.

An Original Vintage Theatrical Unfolded Personality Poster (measures 22" x 28" [56 x 71 cm]) (Learn More)

Freddie Bartholomew was born Frederick Llwellyn in London, England (or was it Dublin, Ireland?) in 1924. He was abandoned by his parents as a baby, and was raised in London by his aunt, and she gave him her last name. He had minor film and stage roles as a child, but when he was ten, his aunt took him to the U.S. where he was met by David O. Selznick, who offered him the lead in David Copperfield (full name: The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger!). He was a huge hit, and he was instantly the second most popular child film star (after Shirley Temple). He made appearances in Anna Karenina and Professional Soldier, and then he played the lead in Little Lord Fauntleroy. He became SO popular that in 1936, he was top billed over Madeleine Carroll and Tyrone Power Jr. in Lloyd's of London, even though he had a relatively small part! In 1937, he had his best role ever, opposite Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous, as the spoiled rich boy who learns of life from a simple Portuguese fisherman. But sadly, his great success caused his parents to re-surface, and they launched a court fight to regain custody of him (and his earnings). Ironically, that lengthy battle ended up eating up almost all he had earned! He made a dozen more movies by 1942, and he joined the Air Force. He was no longer a cute little boy, and his film career was basically over. In 1947 he bizarrely had a cameo in an all-black movie, Sepia Cinderella (perhaps that was all he was offered). He made one more film in 1951, St. Benny, the Dip. He went to work in advertising, and later was successful as a producer for several shows, including TV's "The Andy Griffith Show" and "As The World Turns". He was understandably bitter about the events in his life, and did not publicly talk about them, but in 1991, he gave an interview for a TV documentary, and died soon after, at the age of 67. But for several years in the mid 1930s, he had been one of the biggest stars in Hollywood!
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Important Added Info: Note that starting in the very early 1910s (around 1912, when studios realized that people were more likely to go to a movie if it had a star they liked in it), studios created sets of special "personality" posters, which theaters that showed their movies could hang in their lobbies. These had a big advantage over posters for specific movies, because they could be used whenever a movie with that star was shown, which meant they could be used over and over! Because studios realized this, they made these posters on a high quality paper stock, sometimes with a "linen" texture, and sometimes with elaborate border designs, and almost always with great quality color printing. They almost always measured exactly 22" x 28", the same as "half-sheets" (which were then known as "displays", except that they were taller than they were wide, and that the images almost always had a "full bleed", meaning that there were no blank borders. They almost always showed a head and shoulders image of the star, and the image on these posters is often very close to actual life-size! They almost always have the name of the star and the studio they worked for at the bottom. Even though there were many sets of these from many studios over a period of approximately 30 years (they were rarely made after the early 1940s), very few survive, likely partially due to World War II paper drives, and partially due to the fact that they were never folded and the paper they were made of sometimes aged poorly. We at were just consigned a very special collection of 99 of these "personality" posters, which we are auctioning in separate auctions. They were collected starting in the mid 1980s, and the collector who assembled this collection tried to "upgrade" condition whenever possible over the years, so many of them are in excellent condition (sometimes likely the best surviving example), and on the ones where they are in lesser condition, it is because the collector never could find one in better condition! Now he has consigned them to us, and they will find new owners. If they were kept together, they would surely make an incredible display for the walls of any place where lots of people gather, like a museum, a restaurant, or any similar place. Of course, it is more likely that these will find many, many separate new homes, but we hope that they end up publicly displayed wherever they end up!

Note that MGM became a major studio after its creation (through merger) in 1924, and at some point in the 1920s, they created two different sets of personality posters to promote their stars, and in the 1930s, when they had "more stars than there are in Heaven", they created four more sets! You can tell the sets apart in two ways. One is that all of the posters from a set have the same border design and the stars and studio names are written in the same font and layout. The other is that you can look at the age of the star in the image (although that might possibly be deceptive, because they might have sometimes used a slightly younger version of a star!). The MGM sets were likely made every two to three years, and some major stars carried over from set to set, but with the passing years, some stars would be dropped and new stars added. These posters are extremely rare as it is likely few theaters ordered them, and fewer still saved them, and in addition, they could be easily torn, and if they were not stored carefully, they would become fragile, and it is likely many were damaged and discarded for that reason! Note that the high quality paper stock these posters were printed on does not always age very well, and can become fragile (usually resulting in chips around the edges of the poster). Because of their fragile nature and their age, we intend to send all of these personality posters in large flat packages, and never roll them into tubes (unless the buyer insists)! PLEASE DO NOT BID ON THIS POSTER, UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO PAY THE COST OF SHIPPING IT IN A LARGE FLAT PACKAGE!

Condition: very good. There is a pinhole in the center of the bottom border. There are some tiny dot stains in the lower left corner in just a few of the letters. There are minor creases and a very tiny tear in the upper right border. Otherwise, it is in nice condition, and is not at all fragile.
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